Wednesday, November 11, 2015

And then ...

Tom had a routine appointment with an ophthalmologist  in Mauston early this morning and I drove him up there. They usually dilate one eye, and although Tom has driven himself home on back roads when necessary, I was free to do it. I packed my laptop and planned to see if I could get some writing done while waiting for him.

His appointment didn't take long. The doctor, whose main office is at one of the UW-Health Centers in Madison, comes up to this area every other week. Next time Tom meets with her will be in her Madison office in May. She warned him that the place is a zoo. Although there is a large UW-Health place within walking distance of our new apartment, her practice is not located there. It is in their main complex adjacent to a huge VA hospital. To show how crazy it is, Tom claims the clerk in Mauston was on hold for seventeen minutes when she called to set up his appointment at the new place. That is longer than the time he spent with the doctor.

At any rate, I was in the waiting area in the hospital for about forty-five minutes and it was fairly quiet. There was no place to set up the laptop, so I held it on my lap and did what I could. As it turns out, the action in the part of the novel I was working on is set in a hospital and at one point two characters are stuck for a while in a waiting room. So I was able to take advantage of where I was to set the scene more concretely. It is not important for moving the story forward, but I hope it lends an element of verisimilitude (not the word-of-the-day) that this story needs. I can imagine things pretty well, but I would never have come up with the young couple who came in with their three-year-old son, hopping and bouncing across the room to greet the doctor who came out to meet them.

On the way back home from shopping after dropping Tom off, I met the our neighbor, out for a walk with three of her children. Her oldest daughter told me that today is the day. I didn't say anything, but we have heard that before.

At any rate, the word-of-the-day is not so unusual, although the quality is not as common as one might wish: magnanimous -- proceeding from or revealing generosity or nobility of mind. [I have a story about magnanimity and the monastery that I will share with you later if I remember.] The word count for the novel at mid-afternoon stands at 37,996. Some sample lines from the end:
The security man calmly asked Hank to give him the gun and held out his hand. Hank looked at the gun blankly for a moment. Then his chest heaved and he passed it to the officer..
He didn’t look at me, but he whispered, “I didn’t mean to hurt Katie, Corny. I would never hurt Katie.”
“I know that, Hank,” I said numbly to the man who used to be my best friend, the man who had hated me for the past thirteen years, the man who had just shot my daughter. “I know you wouldn’t.”
“Come with me, please sir,” the security man said politely and took Hank by the arm. Turning to me, he said, “Wait here. Do not leave. George,” he looked at the larger of the orderlies and nodded at me, “stay with him.”
George nodded and folded his arms across his barrel chest. The officer and Hank disappeared down the corridor.

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